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Vascular Plants of California
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Leptosyne californica

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to tree. Leaf: basal and/or cauline, alternate, opposite, rarely whorled, simple to 2+ × compound. Inflorescence: 1° inflorescence a head, resembling a flower, of several types (see below), 1--many in generally +- cyme-like cluster; each head generally with +- calyx-like involucre of 1--many series of phyllaries (involucre bracts); receptacle of head flat to conic or columnar, paleate (bearing paleae = receptacle bracts) or epaleate; flowers 1--many per head. Flower: bisexual, unisexual, or sterile, +- small, of several types (see below); calyx 0 or modified into +- persistent pappus of bristles, scales, and/or awns; corolla radial or bilateral (0), lobes generally (0)3--5; stamens 4--5, filaments generally free, generally fused to corolla at tube/throat junction, anthers generally fused into cylinder around style, anther base generally rounded or cordate (deeply sagittate or with tail-like appendages), tip (= flattened appendage) generally projecting beyond pollen sac; pistil 1, 2-carpeled, ovary inferior, 1-chambered, 1-seeded, placenta basal, style 1, tip generally +- 2-branched (except in some staminate disk flowers), branch tips truncate or generally bearing +- brush-like appendages; stigmas 2, generally on adaxial faces of style branches. Fruit: achene (also called a cypsela) (drupe in Chrysanthemoides), cylindric to ovoid, sometimes compressed, generally deciduous with pappus attached.
Genera In Family: +- 1500 genera, 23000 species: worldwide, many habitats. Note: Flower and head types differ in form and sexual condition. A disk flower has a generally radial corolla, with a cylindric tube, expanded throat, and generally 5 lobes. Disk flowers are generally bisexual and fertile but occasionally staminate with reduced ovaries. Discoid heads comprise only disk flowers. A radiant head is a variant of a discoid head, with peripheral disk flower corollas expanded, often bilateral. A ray flower corolla is bilateral, generally with a slender tube and flattened petal-like ray (single lip composed of generally 3 lobes). Ray flowers are generally pistillate or sterile (occasionally lacking styles). Radiate heads have peripheral ray flowers and central disk flowers. Disciform heads superficially resemble discoid heads, with pistillate or sterile flowers that lack rays, together with or separate from disk flowers. A ligulate flower is bisexual, with a bilateral, generally ephemeral corolla and 5-lobed ligule. Liguliflorous heads comprise only ligulate flowers. See glossary p. 31 for illustrations of family characteristics. Echinops sphaerocephalus L., Gaillardia aristata Pursh, Gaillardia pulchella Foug., Hymenothrix loomisii S.F. Blake, Tagetes erecta L., Thelesperma megapotamicum (Spreng.) Kuntze are waifs. Melampodium perfoliatum Kunth, historic urban waif. Ageratum conyzoides L., Guizotia abyssinica (L. f.) Cass., Santolina chamaecyparisus L., orth. var. are rare or uncommon escapes from cultivation. Dyssodia papposa, Ismelia carinata (Schousb.) Sch. Bip. [Chrysanthemum carinatum Schousb.], Mantisalca salmantica (L.) Briq. & Cavill. are historical or extirpated waifs in California. Inula helenium L. not documented in California. Taxa of Aster in TJM (1993) treated here in Almutaster, Eucephalus, Eurybia, Ionactis, Oreostemma, Sericocarpus, Symphyotrichum; Chamomilla in Matricaria; Bahia in Hymenothrix; Cnicus in Centaurea; Conyza in Erigeron and Laennecia; Dugaldia in Hymenoxys; Erechtites in Senecio; Hymenoclea in Ambrosia; Lembertia in Monolopia; Osteospermum ecklonis in Dimorphotheca; Picris echioides in Helminthotheca; Prionopsis in Grindelia; Raillardiopsis in Anisocarpus and Carlquistia; Schkuhria multiflora in Picradeniopsis; Trimorpha in Erigeron; Venidium in Arctotis; Whitneya in Arnica. Amauriopsis in TJM2 (2012) treated here in Hymenothrix; Arida in Leucosyris; Bahia in Picradeniopsis.
Unabridged Note: Largest family of vascular plants in California and of eudicots globally.
eFlora Treatment Author: David J. Keil, except as noted
Scientific Editor: David J. Keil, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: LeptosyneView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: TICKSEED
Habit: Annual to shrub. Stem: slender to stout and fleshy. Leaf: simple or 1--3-pinnately dissected into linear or narrowly oblanceolate lobes, basal and/or cauline, alternate, sessile or petioled, often +- fleshy. Inflorescence: heads radiate, 1 or in few- to many-headed cyme-like clusters; peduncle +- long; involucre hemispheric or bell-shaped; phyllaries in 2 series, outer +- spreading, thick, green, +- fleshy, inner thin, membranous; receptacle flat to rounded, paleate; palea flat, scarious. Ray Flower: 5--20; ray yellow, showy. Disk Flower: 10--150+; corolla yellow to orange; style tips truncate or deltoid. Fruit: ray and disk fruits alike or different, generally compressed front-to-back, winged; pappus 0 or of 2 scales.
Species In Genus: 8 species: southwestern United States; northern Baja California. Etymology: (Greek: slenderness, perhaps describing the narrow leaf lobes) Note: Formerly in (polyphyletic) Coreopsis.
Unabridged Note: Leptosyne species form a monophyletic group that is not closely related to the clade containing the type sp. of Coreopsis.
eFlora Treatment Author: David J. Keil
Reference: Mort et al. 2004 Syst Bot 29:781--789; Strother 2006 FNANM 21:185--198
Leptosyne californica Nutt.
Habit: Annual generally 5--30 cm, glabrous. Stem: 1--many, erect. Leaf: all basal or few cauline, generally erect, 2--10 cm, 0.3--0.5 mm wide, thread-like, +- cylindric, entire or lobes 1--2, short, thread-like, tip obtuse, red. Inflorescence: +- scapose, head 1; involucre widely cylindric, base rounded; outer phyllaries 2--7, 4--7 mm, narrowly lanceolate, hairs at base yellow or red, glandular, tip red; inner phyllaries 5--8, 6--10 mm, widely lanceolate, acute, margin narrowly scarious; palea 4--5.5 mm, linear to oblanceolate, free from disk fruit. Ray Flower: 5--12; ray 5--15 mm, obovate. Disk Flower: (10)20--60(100); corolla 2--3.6 mm. Fruit: ray and disk fruits alike, 2.5--4.3 mm, obovate, rusty-tan to light brown or +- red, generally blotched with red or black spots near margin at least when young, puberulent, hairs club-shaped, wing irregularly thickened, corky; pappus 0 (or scales 2). Chromosomes: 2n=24.
Ecology: Openings in chaparral, desert plains, washes; Elevation: < 1300 m. Bioregional Distribution: s SNF, s SnJV, s SCoRI, SCo, TR, D; Distribution Outside California: Arizona, Baja California. Flowering Time: Feb--Jun
Synonyms: Coreopsis californica (Nutt.) H. Sharsm.;
Jepson eFlora Author: David J. Keil
Reference: Mort et al. 2004 Syst Bot 29:781--789; Strother 2006 FNANM 21:185--198
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Botanical illustration including Leptosyne californica

botanical illustration including Leptosyne californica


Citation for this treatment: David J. Keil 2012, Leptosyne californica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 13, 2018.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2018, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on December 13, 2018.

Leptosyne californica
click for enlargement
© 1998 Larry Blakely
Leptosyne californica
click for enlargement
© 1998 Larry Blakely
Leptosyne californica
click for enlargement
© 2006 Larry Blakely
Leptosyne californica
click for enlargement
© 1998 Larry Blakely
Leptosyne californica
click for enlargement
© 2006 Larry Blakely
Leptosyne californica
click for enlargement
© 2006 Larry Blakely

More photos of Leptosyne californica in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Leptosyne californica:
s SNF, s SnJV, s SCoRI, SCo, TR, D;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.